Illinois Senate Committee Approves Bill to Decriminalize MJ Possession

An Illinois Senate Committee approved legislation that would decriminalize the possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana Wednesday.

The Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee approved House Bill 218 by a vote of 9-3. The bill was passed by the House last week and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.

The measure, which was introduced by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D.-Chicago), would make possession of nearly half an ounce of marijuana punishable by a “uniform cannabis ticket,” with fines ranging from $55 to $125. Cassidy stated that the bill, which would prevent police from arresting people for small amounts of marijuana, would help to prevent racial discrimination in enforcement.

The bill has 16 co-sponsors, and its primary sponsor in the Senate is Michael Nolan (D.-Elgin). As introduced, the upper limit on possession would have been 30 grams, but amendments brought the amount down to 15.

A House analysis found that passing the bill would decrease the number of Illinois prison system inmates by 115, and could save the state $29,335,700 over the next ten years.


Photo Credit: tanjila ahmed

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